1. Biden repeated the false talking points — as did moderator Martha Raddatz (!) — about the Romney Medicare plan exposing seniors to higher costs. In fact, the Romney plan is explicitly designed to ensure that seniors are not exposed to any additional costs.
2. Biden repeated the false talking points about Obamacare’s $716 billion in Medicare cuts not being real cuts, because they allegedly don’t cut “benefits.” Indeed, the ratio of Obamacare’s Medicare cuts to “new benefits” is 15 to 1.
3. Biden claimed that Democratic senator Ron Wyden opposes the Wyden-Ryan Medicare reform plan. Wyden opposes the House GOP budget, because it repeals Obamacare and block-grants Medicaid, but rest assured that Wyden still supports the Wyden-Ryan plan. And that plan is actually to the right of Romney’s plan, because Wyden-Ryan contains a hard cap on Medicare spending growth (GDP + 1 percent) whereas Romney’s plan contains no growth cap.
4. Biden claimed that having the government directly negotiate drug prices under Medicare Part D would save taxpayers “$156 billion right off the bat.” In fact, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that such a change “would have a negligible effect on drug spending.”
5. Biden claimed that Paul Ryan’s House budgets would “knock 19 million people off of Medicare.” This is an entirely made-up figure. Not a single person would lose their Medicare coverage under Ryan’s budgets, and not a single person would under Romney’s plan either.
6. Biden repeated the long-debunked claim that Romney seeks a “$5 trillion tax cut,” when in fact Romney’s tax proposal is designed to be revenue-neutral. Furthermore, Biden claimed that there is a study from AEI supporting his claims. “The American Enterprise Institute study [says that] taxes will go up on the middle class,” claimed Biden. There is no such study. Two AEI scholars, Matt Jensen and Alex Brill, have in fact made the opposite case. (NRO)
The Obama health law creates two new entitlements for people under age 65: Subsidies to buy private health plans, and a vast expansion of Medicaid. To pay for these two new entitlements, this law raises taxes by over half a trillion dollars, and then takes well over half a trillion dollars out of future funding for Medicare. So seniors pay over half the cost of these new entitlements. Cuts to Medicare pay for over half the cost of this Obama health care law. It’s like robbing Grandma to “spread the wealth.”
Based on the data from Medicare’s own actuaries, every single year Medicare will have less money to spend on a senior than before this law was passed. For example, in 2019, Medicare will have $1,431 less to spend, per senior, than if the law hadn’t passed. But averages obscure the real impact, understate the real impact, because, in a given year, only about one of out of every five seniors, 22%, go to the hospital. So, for the senior who needs care that year, the impact is far greater—between $5,000 and $6,000 less in resources to care for that person.
Obama: “Don’t worry, I’m only cutting payments to providers, I’m not cutting benefits for seniors.”
And the Republicans, specifically want to “end medicare” (see link at the bottom).
Don’t be bamboozled! It’s a trick. It’s an illusion. The fact is that Medicare already pays less than the actual cost of care to a hospital—91 cents for every dollar of care delivered. So when the payments to hospitals are cut, it’s not going to trim hospital profit margins—they’re already in the negative! It’s going to force hospitals to deliver less care.(AIM)
On Oct. 1, the Obama administration started awarding bonus points to hospitals that spend the least on elderly patients. It will result in fewer knee replacements, hip replacements, angioplasty, bypass surgery and cataract operations.
These are the five procedures that have transformed aging for older Americans. They used to languish in wheelchairs and nursing homes due to arthritis, cataracts and heart disease. Now they lead active lives.
But the Obama administration is undoing that progress. By cutting $716 billion from future Medicare funding over the next decade and rewarding the hospitals that spend the least on seniors, the Obama health law will make these procedures hard to get and less safe.
The Obama health law creates two new entitlements for people under age 65 — subsidies to buy private health plans and a vast expansion of Medicaid. More than half the cost of these entitlements is paid for by cutting what hospitals, doctors, hospice care, home care and Advantage plans are paid to care for seniors.
Just Take A Pill
Astoundingly, doctors will be paid less to treat a senior than to treat someone on Medicaid, and only about one-third of what a doctor will be paid to treat a patient with private insurance.
On July 13, 2011, Richard Foster, chief actuary for Medicare, warned Congress that seniors will have difficulty finding doctors and hospitals to accept Medicare. Doctors who do continue to take it will not want to spend time doing procedures such as knee replacements when the pay is so low. Yet the law bars them from providing care their patients need for an extra fee. You’re trapped.
President Obama seems to think too many seniors are getting these procedures. At a town hall debate in 2009, he told a woman “maybe you’re better off not having the surgery but taking the painkiller.”
Science proves the president is wrong. Knee replacements, for example, not only relieve pain but also save lives. Seniors with severe osteoarthritis who opt for knee replacement are less apt to succumb to heart failure and have a 50% higher chance of being alive five years later than arthritic seniors who don’t undergo the procedure, according to peer-reviewed scientific research.
Yet Foster warned Congress that 15% of hospitals may stop treating seniors once the Obama-Care cuts go into effect. The rest will have to lower the standard of care. Hospitals will have $247 billion less over the next decade to care for the same number of seniors as if the health law had not been enacted.
Elderly patients will have a worse chance of surviving their stay and going home. When Medicare reduced payment rates to hospitals as part of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, hospitals incurring the largest cuts laid off nurses.
Rewarding Skimpy Care
Eventually, patients at these hospitals had a 6% to 8% worse chance of surviving a heart attack, according to a National Bureau of Economic Research report (March 2011).
In addition to the across-the-board cuts, the Obama administration will now impose a new measure on hospitals: “Medicare spending per beneficiary.” Hospitals that spend the least on seniors get bonus points, and higher-spending hospitals get demerits.
Hospitals will even be penalized for care consumed up to 30 days after patients are discharged, for example, for outpatient physical therapy following a hip or knee replacement.
There are ways to control Medicare spending, such as inching up the eligibility age or asking well-off seniors to pay more. Forcing hospitals to skimp on care is deadly.
Research sponsored by the National Institute on Aging (Annals of Internal Medicine, February 2011) shows that heart attack patients at the lowest-spending hospitals are 19% more likely to die than patients of the same age at higher-spending hospitals. Yet the Obama health law pushes all hospitals to imitate the lowest spending ones.
Ignore the political rhetoric and look at the scientific evidence. The Medicare cuts in the Obama health law will end Medicare as we’ve known it and doom seniors to painful aging and shorter lives.
And to that: The Politifact Lie of the Year 2011: